Lance Bass Feared For His Life During Russian Cosmonaut Training
Lance Bass feared he would be killed because of his sexuality while training as an astronaut in Russia.
Former 'N Sync star 'came out' as gay in 2006, but he was still hiding his sexuality from the world when he spent three months at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia in 2002.
During his time in the country, which is at the center of controversy for its anti-gay propaganda legislation, Bass recalls learning firsthand of many Russians' negative opinions of the gay community.
The 34-year-old singer tells website Buzzfeed.com, "I was so scared the whole entire time that they would figure out that I was gay. I was always worried that they were going to figure it out at any moment, and kill me. Just come in the middle of the night and kill me.
"It's really sad, I grew to love Russia. I lived in old communist Russia, I wasn't in Moscow, I was in the 1960s real Russia. So I really got to know them and appreciate their culture, and even then I knew how much they hated gays.
"That was one of the first things I realized, was how much they made fun of it. It scared me how much they talked about it, and how offended they were by gays."
One incident in particular made him feel especially uneasy, when he had to undergo medical testing before the training program even began.
Bass recalls, "They had to give me a colonoscopy to test everything... I was completely awake. Their medical testing is very barbaric and I'm sitting there and they're doing the procedure with lots of doctors in the room. So I have tears coming down my eyes, because it hurt so badly, and they all start laughing.
"And I asked my translator, 'Why are they laughing?' and they said, 'Well, they know now that you're not gay.' And they were all laughing because my colonoscopy hurt so much, and they were all happy because I wasn't gay."
Despite his intense training session, Bass' funding fell through and bosses of the Russian training center removed him from the program.